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Family Solanaceae

Nicotiana tabacum Linn.

Yan cao

Scientific names Common names
Nicotiana chinensis Fisch. ex Lehm. Tabako (Tag.)
Nicotiana fruiticosa Moc. & Sessé ex Dunal [Invalid] Tabaku (Sul.)
Nicotiana latissima Mill. Tobacco (Engl.)
Nicotiana mexicana Schltdl.  
Nicotiana pilosa Dunal  
Nicotiana tabacum Linn.  
Nicotiana tabaca St.-Lag. [Spelling variant]  
Nicotiana tabacum L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Skair, Tabagh, Tabaaq, Tanbako.
ARMENIAN: Tskhakhot.
BENGALI: Tamak, Tamaka, Tamaka gacha, Tamaka pata, Tamrakuta, Tambmaku.
CAMBODIA: Thnam' chuek.
CHINESE: Yan cao.
CZECH: Tabak virginsky.
DANISH: Almindelig tobak, Tobag, Virginsk tobak.
DUTCH: Tabak.
FINNISH: Virginiantupakka.
FRENCH: Tabac, Tabac commun, Grand tabac.
GERMAN: Echter tabak, Langblattriger, Tatak.
GUJARATI: Tamaku, Tambmaku, Teno choda.
HEBREW: Tabak nafotzti, Tabak.
HINDI: Bajr-bhang, Tambaku, Tumak.
HUNGARIAN: Dohany, Dohanyok, Kozonseges dohanynak.
INDONESIA: Tembakau, Tabako, Bako.
ITALIAN: Tabacco, Erba della regina, Nicoziana, Albrero del tabacco.
JAPANESE: Nikochiana tabakamu, Tabako.
KANNADA: Beedu giiraba yele, Hogesoppu, Tambaku, Thambaaku.
KHMER: Cha wua.
LAOS: Ya:, Ya: dét.
MALAYSIA: Tembakau.
MARATHI: Tamaku, Tambmaku.
NEPALESE: Tamakhu.
NORWEGIAN: Virginiatobakk.
ORIYA: Tamakhu, Vaihlo.
PERSIAN: Bajr bhang, Tanbaku, Tutun, Tutuni kurdistan.
POLISH: Tyton szlachetny.
PUNJABI: Tamaku.
RUSSIAN: Tabak, Tabaka.
SANSKRIT: Dhumapatram, Dhumrapatra, Dhumrapatrika, Gucchaphala, Kalanja, Krimighni, Ksarapatra, Ksharapatra, Tamakhu, Tamakhuh, Tamala, Tamrakuta, Tamrakuttika, Tamraparna, Vajrabhringi, Vajrabhrngi.
SINHALESE: Dhumkola.
SPANISH: Hierba de la reina, Hierba del embajador, Hierba santa, Tabaco, Tabaco negro, Yerba de la reina, Yerba del gran prior.
SWEDISH: Virginiatobak.
TAMIL: Biramam, Birammapattiram, Kanananti, Piramma, Pugaiyilai, Puccai pukaiyilai.
TELUGU: Dhoomrapathramu, Dhumrapatramu, Pogaku.
THAI: Yasup, Chawua, Ya sup.
URDU: Tambaku, Tanbaku, Tubiku.
VIETNAM: Thu[oos]c l[as], Cay thuoc la, Thuoc la.

Tabako is a coarse, erect, viscidly-hairy annual herb growing to a height of 0.7 to 1.5 meters. Leaves are large, elliptic-ovate to oblong or obovate, 10 to 30 centimeters long or longer, narrowed by the base, and sessile or short-stalked. Inflorescences are terminal. Calyx is green, ovoid or tubular, 1 to 1.5 centimeters long, with five triangular lanceolate teeth. Corolla is white and pink, linear, funnel-shaped and about 5 centimeters long. Capsule is ovoid, 1.5 to 2 centimeters long, with very numerous white seeds.

- Cultivated throughout the Philippines.
- A major commercial crop in some provinces.

- Native of tropical America.
- Now planted in all warm countries.

• Leaves contain active principles, the toxic alkaloid nicotine (0.6 to 9 %) and three other alkaloids: nicoteine, nicotelline, and nicotinine. Also yields anabasine, betaine iamylamine, pyrrolidine, and n-methyl pyrroline, resin, albumen, gum, extractive matter, and ash containing large amounts of salts (sulphates, nitrates, chlorides, phosphates, malates, and citrates of potassium, ammonium, calcium, etc.)
• Study isolated a pair of sesquiterpene glucosides - 3-hydroxysolavetivone-beta-D-glucoside A and B - from the leaves.

• Seeds of N. tabacum yielded 30% oil, the rest are protein, crude fiber, carbohydrate and inorganic material. Main triglycerides in the seed oil are trilinolein and palmitodilinolein, accounting for about 90% of the oil composition. Major individual fatty acids are linoleic acid (66-76%) oleic acid (17-27%), palmitic acid (7-10%), and stearic acid (3.1%). Oil is classified as linoleic oil in the semi-drying oil category. (21)

• Except for the ripe seeds, all parts are considered poisonous.
• Leaves considered antispasmodic, discutient, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, narcotic, sedative, maturative, styptic and sialagogue.

Pharmacokinetic factoids
• The nicotine alkaloid is rapidly absorbed from all mucous membranes, lungs and skin, but more commonly enters through the lung alveoli, quickly reaching the heart and brain receptors, and largely eliminated by oxidation through the liver (80 to 90%), a small amount metabolized in the kidneys and lungs. Elimination half-life is 2 hours.
• Nicotine is the primary psychoactive constituent of tobacco – cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and nicotine patches, gum, inhalers and sprays.
• It acts on the autonomic ganglia. One cigarette causes a 50% rise of noradrenaline and 15% rise of adrenaline. From the posterior pituitary, vasopressin is released.
• A pack per day smoking increases the coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction three-fold. There is also an increase in emphysematous lung disease, lung cancer, peripheral vascular disease and stomach ulcers. In women who smoke, there is a higher incidence of premature births, deformities and perinatal infant mortality.
• Used by herbalists as a relaxant, it has long been abandoned because of its highly addictive nature.

Parts utilized

• In the Philippines, fresh leaves used as poultices as sedative and maturative.
• Decoction of dried leaves used in enemas for expelling certain intestinal worms.
• Dried leaves used as styptic.
• Juice of leaves is sedative, antispasmodic and a powerful insecticide.

• Dried leaves are nauseating, emetic, sometimes purgative.
• Has been used for coughs, whooping cough, hiccups, spasmodic laryngitis, asthmas.
• Tobacco snuff has been used for headache, giddiness and fainting.
• Leaves applied to the abdomen in colic and gripes.
• The ashes, mixed with oil, are applied to bleeding sores.
• Leaves have been used for pain and rheumatic swelling, syphilitic nodes and skin diseases.
Other uses
• Used extensively in agricultural and horticultural applications, for fumigating, spraying, as worm powders, insecticides.
Medical Use in History
• In Europe, first reported as a remedy for wound healing and headaches by Jean Nicot Sieur de Villemain (1530-1600)
• Reported as curative for skin ailmentsw, goiter, broken limes, headaches, ulcers, worms, syphilis and dropsy by Jean Liebault (1536-1596).
• Nicolas Monardes of Spain advocated
its used as an enema and tobacco syrup for asthma and coughs.
• From the 16th to the end of the 19th century it was a highly valued herbal curative for a variety of ailments.

Anthelmintic: Study of methanol and aqueous extracts of Nicotiana tabacum exhibited dose-dependent anthelmintic activity both in vitro and in vivo, justifying its use in traditional medicine in Pakistan. (1) Study evaluated the in-vitro anthelmintic effect of aqueous and alcoholic extract of N. tabacum against M. marshalli. Results showed considerable anthelmintic activity with more potent effects observed with highest concentrations. (18)
Hematologic Effects: Study of the aqueous extract of N tabacum leaves showed significant decrease in RBC count, PCV, Hb and platelet count with increase in MCV and MCH. Results suggest the consumption of the aqueous extract of N tabacum may lead to some level of anemia despite its "pleasant effects." (4)
Lipid Studies / Seed Oils: Plant lipids find application not only in nutrition, but also in the production of lotions, ointments and various pharmaceutical preparations. ipids Seeds of N. tabacum and N. rustica were found to contain lipids 41.3% and 36.6% respectively. The lipid class in N. tabacum were hydrocarbons (1.4%), wax esters (1.7%) sterol esters (2.4%), triacylglycerols (69.3%), free fatty acids (6.2%), l,3-diacylglycerols (4.6%), l,2-diacylglycerols (3.5%), free sterols (2.3%), 2-monoacylglycerols (2.1%), 1-monoacylglycerols (1.8%), phosphatidylethanolamines (1.7%), phosphatidylcholines (0.9%), Iysophosphatidylethanolamines (1.5%) and phosphatidylinositols (0.6%). (7)
Antimicrobial: In vitro antibacterial screening of various extracts of N. tabacum revealed different ranges of antibacterial activities. An ethyl acetate extract was more effective in controlling Bacillus cereus and Erwinia carotovora followed by a butanol extract against Staph aureus and Agrobacterium tumefaciens. (8)
Biotechnological Reduction of Tobacco Toxicity: Genetic engineering can modify nicotine levels of the tobacco plant. In the study, through transferring of the blocking gene, the pathway of nicotine biosynthesis was block to produce transgenic tobacco with love levels of nicotine. Lower nicotine levels can reduce toxic effects and facilitate withdrawl from it. (10)
Review of Properties and Pharmacological Activities: Tobacco has yielded a spectrum of chemical compounds including nicotine, solanesol, malic, and citric acid. Pharmacologic activities are described i.e., antibacterial, antinociceptive, antimicrobial, antifungal, anthelmintic, CNS activity, and anti-Alzheimer's activity. Review suggest the potential for use of nicotine in the treatment of Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, depression and anxiety, schizophrenia, ADHD, pain and obesity. (11)
Hypoglycemic / Leaves: Study evaluated leaf extracts of N. tabacum leaves for in vitro inhibition of α-amylase and α-glucosidase. The aqueous extract of plant was most effective as inhibitor (non-competitive) of α-amylase (IC50 5.70 mg/ml) while the acetone extract exhibited best inhibitory (competitive) potential of α-glucosidase (IC50 4.50 mg/mL). Observed inhibitions of α-amylase and α-glucosidase suggest leaf extracts may be useful in the management of diabetes. (14)
Anti-Aphthous / Mouthwash / Leaves: A randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial evaluated the effects of application of tobacco or placebo mouthwash on minor recurrent aphthous stomatitis. Ulcer pain score was decreased by 79.2% and 93.8% and ulcer size was reduced by 69.1% and 92.2%, significantly greater than control group. Results showed decoction prepared from NT leaves used as mouthwash was well-tolerated and safe, and can be used for the management of recurrent aphthous. (15)
Cytotoxic and Cytogenetic Effects / RD and L20B Cell Lines: Study evaluated the cytotoxicity of aqueous and methanol crude extracts of locally N. tabacum leaves on two cell lines, Rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) tumor cel line and Murine fibroblast (L20B) cell line in vitro. Both extracts showed cytotoxic effect against both RD and L20B cell lines, with a significant decrease in proliferation in RD tumor cell line. The cytogenetic effects of methanolic crude extract of leaves revealed a significant decrease in MJ (mitotic index) in both cell lines. (16)
Anti-Dandruff / Leaves: Study evaluated the in-vitro anti-dandruff activity of biotransformed material of Nicotiana tabacum leaves using strain of Malassezia (Pityrosporum) furfur. Microbial biotransformed Nicotiana tabacum leaves showed potential anti-dandruff activity between 100 mg/ml to 500 mg/ml, compared with aqueous extract,marketed ayurvedic, homeopathic and allopathic (ketoconazole) formulations. (17)
N. tabacum Agglutinin Against Lepidopteran Pest Insects: A jasmonate-inducible lectin called N. tabacum agglutinin or NICTABA was found in tobacco (N. tabacum cv Samsun) leaves. Study evaluated the entomotoxic properties of NICTABA against Lepidopterean larvae. Results showed NICTABA can help tobacco plants to counteract caterpillar attacks. (19)

- Wild-crafted.

Last Update September 2016

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / BOTANICAL – EDUCATIONAL PLATE – BLACK – NICOTIANA TABACUM LINNÄ / Tobacco. German educational plate, botany, black background. 19th Century. / Vintage Printable

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
In vitro and In vivo anthelmintic activity of Nicotiana tabacum L. leaves against gastrointestinal nematodes of sheep / Zafar Iqbal et al / Phytotherapy Research • Vol 20 Issue 1, Pages 46 - 48 / DOI 10.1002/ptr.1800
Nicotiana tabacum as a homeopathic remedy / Johannes Wilkens / AnthroMedLibrary
Nicotiana Tabacum (Tobacco): A Cardiac Poison / NDRI.com

THE FILTHY WEED / botgard.ucla.edu
A pair of sesquiterpene glucosides from the leaves of Nicotiana tabacum / Feng X, Wang JS, Luo J, Kong LY / J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2010 Mar;12(3):252-6.
/ Amran Waheed / Pakistan Research Repository
Nicotiana tabacum / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Biotechnological Reduction of Tobacco (Nicotiana Tabacum L.) Toxicity
/ Samane Sattar, Gholamreza Asghari *, Ali Akbar Ehsanpour / Iranian Journal of Toxicology Volume 6, No 18, Autumn 2012
Phytochemical Properties and Pharmcological Activities of Nicotiana Tabacum: A Review / Aarti Rawat, Rakesh Roshan Mali* / INDIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACEUTICAL & BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH (IJPBR). Vol. 1 (1), June., 2013
Nicotiana tabacum / Synonyms / The Plant List
Sorting Nicotiana names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The Univers ity of Melbourne. Australia.

In vitro study on the hypoglycemic potential of Nicotiana tabacum leaf extracts
/ Mutiu Idowu Kazeem, Semawon Mauton Ogungbe, Gbemisola Morounke Saibu, Oluwaseyi Mayode Aboyade / Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology > Vol 9, No 2 (2014)
Evaluation of anti-aphthous activity of decoction of Nicotiana tabacum leaves as a mouthwash: a placebo-controlled clinical study / Siavash Vaziri, Mahdi Mojarrab, Mohammad Hosein Farzaei , Farid Najafi, Ali Ghobadi / Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Volume 36, Issue 2, April 2016, Pages 160–164
Cytotoxic and cytogenetic effects of aqueous and methanol crude extracts of Nicotiana tabacum on Rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) and L20B cell lines in vitro / Asaad A. B. AL-Asady, Nadya Y. Ahmed and Twana Ahmed Mustafa / European Journal of Experimental Biology, 2014, 4(2):164-171
Evaluation of In Vitro Antidandruff Activity of Biotransformed Material (Extract) of Nicotiana tabacum Leaves / Prakash Itankar *, Ashlesh V. Murkute / Journal of Natural Remedies, Volume 15, Issue 2, December 2015 / DOI: 10.18311/jnr/2015/507
In vitro anthelmintic effect of Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) extract on parasitic nematode, Marshallagia marshalli / Nouri, F., Nourollahi-Fard, S.R., Foroodi, H.R. et al. / J Parasit Dis (2016) 40: 643. / doi:10.1007/s12639-014-0550-3
Nicotiana tabacum agglutinin is active against Lepidopteran pest insects / Gianni Vandenborre, Karin Groten, Guy Smagghe, Nausicaä Lannoo, Ian T. Baldwin and Els J. M. Van Damme* / Journal of Experimental Botany Volume 61, Issue 4, Pp. 1003-1014.
Conversion of nicotine to nornicotine in Nicotiana tabacum is mediated by CYP82E4, a cytochrome P450 monooxygenase / Balazs Siminszky, Lily Gavilano, Steven W. Bowen, and Ralph E. Dewey / PNAS, Oct 11, 2005, Vol 102, No 41
Nicotiana tabacum L. Seed Oil / Bekele Eshetu

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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